Legal rights for your customers
Your customers have legal rights when they buy goods and things go wrong.
The Supply of Goods and Services (Jersey) Law 2009 protects them if the goods were:
- faulty or damaged (not of satisfactory quality)
- useless (not fit for the purpose)
- not what was advertised or matching the description (not as described)
It doesn't matter if the goods are new, in a sale, or second-hand.
Your customers don't have any legal rights if:
- the goods were damaged by wear and tear, an accident or misuse
- they knew about the fault before they bought the item (shop soiled)
- they changed their mind
There are a few exceptions, including goods bought over the internet (distance selling) where customers have more legal rights.
Controls on distance selling
Your returns policy
Your returns policy can add to these rights but they should not take anything away.
It can be difficult to draft a returns policy which provides your customers with useful information, protects your interests, and meets the requirements of the law.
It's best to have no returns policy rather than a misleading policy.
You only need a returns policy if you want to give your customers additional rights, beyond their minimum entitlement in law.
Offering more than required
If you decide to offer your consumer more than the law requires you can add extra conditions. These may include:
- the customer will need to produce an original till receipt
- the goods may need to be returned unused and in unopened packaging
- a deadline for returns, eg a 28 day return period
- an offer to exchange or offer a credit note, but not to refund
You can't impose these conditions where the consumer has a legal right to return goods, so you will need to make this clear.
Unfair commercial practices
You should never mislead your customers about their legal rights. This could be an unfair commercial practice.
If you're offered additional rights, you should state this in your returns policy. For example, 'this policy is offered in addition to your legal rights'.
It is a good idea to make customers aware of your returns policy before they buy goods so they can make an informed choice, not after they have made their purchase.
The following are examples of statements that are likely to mislead consumers about their legal rights:
- no refunds given
- goods can only be exchanged
- only credit notes will be given against faulty goods
- sold as seen
- no refunds except where goods are faulty
For advice on your returns policy, contact Trading Standards.
This information is intended for guidance. Only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.